You have some symptoms in your legs. They feel heavy. Or they hurt. Or you see some spider veins. You decide to see a vein specialist to find out if you have vein disease. If you do, maybe there is something that you can do about it. You would love to get rid of that pain.
In last month’s blog “Beware of Fake Ultrasounds,” I outlined how unscrupulous vein doctors have devised techniques to fake a positive leg ultrasound. These fake ultrasounds make it appear that you, the unsuspecting patient, has reflux in your leg veins. Reflux on ultrasoundis the criterion that is required to justify a procedure on the leg. Procedures produce money ($4,000 to $6,000 per procedure). Well, you get my drift.
To understand the next scam that I am going to explain to you, you need to read last month’s blog to understand the anatomy of leg veins and the valves in those veins. You can read that article by clicking HERE.
That article explained that a doctor could simulate reflux on ultrasound by making you stand for an hour during the test. The valves in your veins can’t stand a column of blood pressing down on them for an hour. The valves eventually give way, the blood travels back down, and now you have “reflux.”
There is another way to fake reflux on your ultrasound. The doctor can have you lay down during the ultrasound. Let me explain why.
The valves on your veins are closedby the pressure of the blood that is sitting in your leg veins. Gravity tries to drag the blood down your leg. The pressure caused by gravity is exerted on the leaflets of the valves and closes them. Thus, the blood that pumpsup your leg doesn’t travel back down your leg. The movement of blood through the valves is what’s called reflux.
Imagine that you are laying down. There will be blood in your leg veins. But since you are laying down gravity isn’t pulling the blood down towards your feet. And it is the pressure of the blood as its pulled towards your feet that causes the valves to close.
So, when you lay down, the valves are open. If an ultrasound is done at this time, and it is fraudulently reported that you were standing up for the test, then voila: an abnormal ultrasound appears out of nowhere.
This practice goes on in many vein centers. At Vanishing Veins, we perform ultrasounds by the strict protocol that is recommended by all the national organizations. If we tell you that you have reflux and you need a procedure, you can rest assured that you are hearing God’shonest truthand you actuallyneed the procedure. I make less money doing things the right way butat least I can sleep at night.
– Dr. Greenwald